Dark Rain, illustrated by Simon Gane, is a graphic novel that cinematically portrays the large horrors and small hopes triggered by Hurricane Katrina. Two ex-cons down on their luck realize that a crooked bank in the in New Orleans’ Ninth Ward (where the worst and most lethal flooding occurred during Katrina) is left abandoned. The one, working as a salvage diver (and who is an ex Air Force badass) agrees to transport the other to the bank and steal the already-stolen loot inside. But as they crawl along the crowded highways, navigate the flooded streets, encounter those left behind– both alive and dead–, and square off against a private security firm named “Dark Rain,” the original mission gets complicated and confounded.
Dark Rain is in many ways similar to another graphic novel about Katrina, Josh Neufeld’s A.D.: New Orleans after the Deluge. Johnson and Gane’s novel is more plot-driven, even thriller-esque, using the high-stakes caper as an excuse to bounce from the Ninth Ward to the Convention Center, the Superdome, scenes of “looting” and paramilitary violence. The art is not monochromatic, but is a wash of browns and blues that make the world of post-Katrina New Orleans haunting. True to form, Johnson’s dialogue snaps with razor sharp satire and humor, even in the bleakest of settings.
It’s a lean graphic novel, so one can read it in a day.
Review Submitted by: Shane D. Hall
Challenges: Book you can read in a day.